Ancient Greece: A time of "fortunate harmony"

In Nuce: Nerd Alert

Prosperous civilizations have time and resources to devote to the arts. 

From Manual of Classical Literature by Johann Eschenburg:
During the time intervening between Solon, B. C. 594, and Alexander, B. C. 336, Greek literature rose to its greatest splendor.
In this period, the circumstances of the Greeks generally, and of the Athenians in particular, were such as very happily conspired to promote literature and the arts. Among the causes which contributed to their progress, may be mentioned, in addition to the circumstances already noticed, the native disposition of the people, favorably influenced by the climate and the physical features of the country, the free and republican form of the government, the general influence of their customs and usages, their commerce with other nations especially the Egyptians, and their system of education which was expressly adapted to the public interests of the community, and cultivated in fortunate harmony both body and mind. With such advantages the Greeks became highly distinguished in the arts, and were the first to place them on established principles and reduce them to appropriate, consistent, and useful rules.
Their language, which had already acquired so much flexibility, copiousness and harmony, was carried to its highest perfection in the period of which we now speak.
From the works of their best writers they deduced a system of rhetorical truths and precepts, embodied with great discrimination and skill, and taught both orally and in writing. Eloquence and poetry they raised to the greatest eminence. They composed history with taste, judgment and fidelity. Philosophy was one of their favorite studies, and was taught in various schools with order and precision. They discussed with much penetration many of the principles of government and public economy. They cultivated likewise with great success the mathematical sciences. And their good taste, the elements of which they possessed as it were by nature, and which was highly improved by their devoted attention to the fine arts, enabled them to impart to the sciences generally a livelier aspect, and render them more attractive and useful.

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